12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages

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Marriott 5 Night Travel Packages

Now that we have until March 31st to convert hotel points into Companion Pass qualifying Southwest points, I expect that readers will have more interest than ever before in Marriott Travel packages.  After all, until March 31st, Marriott Travel Packages offer a fantastic way to get the Southwest Companion pass that will be good for an unlimited number of flights for almost two years!

Here are 12 things that you need to know

1. What are Marriott Travel Packages?

Marriott travel packages are awards in which you exchange Marriott Rewards points for airline miles plus a certificate for a 7 night stay.  You do not need to use the airline miles as part of the trip in which you book your stay.  The number of Marriott Rewards points required depends on which package you select (e.g. which type of airline miles you want), how many miles you want (50,000; 70,000; 100,000; or 120,000), and which category of hotel you plan to visit.  More details can be found on Marriott’s website, here.

Marriott_hotelplusAir_SouthwestRapidRewards.png

2. What about 5 Night Packages?

5 night packages exist, but they’re intended only for Marriott Vacation Club (timeshare) owners.  Some people have been able to book 5 night packages despite this restriction, but most who ask are turned away.  In other words, don’t count on being able to book these.  If you can somehow book one, they do offer tremendous value.  See: Analysis of Marriott Travel Packages: 5 Night vs. 7 Night.

3. Do I have to select a specific hotel before I redeem points for a travel package?

No.  When you redeem points for a travel package, you get a certificate that’s good for a full year.  In most cases, Marriott reps have been willing to extend the expiration date even further for those who have been unable to redeem their certificate in time.

4. Do I have to know which category of hotel I want before I redeem points for a travel package?

No.  My recommendation is to get a Category 1-5 package.  If you later want to redeem the 7 nights at a category 6 or higher hotel, you can simply pay the difference in package price at the time your redeem your certificate.  For example, if you spend 270,000 Marriott points for a 7 Night Category 1-5 package and later decide to use the certificate in a category 9 hotel, you’ll simply pay the difference in price between the Category 1-5 and Category 9 packages.  Since the Category 9 package costs 390,000 points, you would pay the difference: 390,000 – 270,000 = 120,000.

5. Which packages offer the best value?

Until March 31, 2017, Hotel + Air Package 3 offers the best value for those who fly Southwest because Southwest points will count towards the Southwest Companion Pass.  By purchasing the 7 Nights + 120,000 Rapid Rewards Points package, you’ll get a Companion Pass good for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018!  If you go this route, I highly recommend purchasing the package at least a week before the March 31st deadline to ensure that you receive the points by March 31st.

Marriott_hotelplusAir_SouthwestRapidRewards.png

The next best value is arguably the United RewardsPlus package since it offers the most miles (thanks to the partnership between United and Marriott):

Marriott_hotelplusAir_RewardsPlus.png

Depending on your mile-needs, Hotel + Air Package 1 may be the best.  With this package you can choose from a number of valuable airline programs including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta.

Marriott-Hotel-plus-Air-Package-1.png

Avoid packages 2 and 4 since they offer poor value compared to the others.

6. How many miles should I get?

If you value miles over Marriott Rewards points (and you should!), then always choose the package that is furthest to the right (e.g. 120,000 miles with packages 1 and 3).  A good rule of thumb is to first pick the type of miles you want, then pick the package that is in the top, right of the chart.  If you don’t have enough Marriott Rewards points it can make sense to buy SPG points to top off your balance (see answer 10 below for more options).

7. Is it hard to use the 7 night certificates?

Unfortunately, yes.  To get full value, you have to find a hotel with 7 nights of standard room award availability.  Even if you don’t want to stay the full 7 nights, you must book 7 nights in order to use the certificate.  You can’t use some nights at one hotel and some at another.  You can split up the nights at the same hotel, but only if you book paid nights in-between and on the same reservation.  For example, suppose a hotel has award nights available on weekdays, but not weekends.  You could then book a 9 night stay and use the certificate to book Monday through Thursday night, pay yourself for Friday and Saturday night, then use the certificate for Sunday and Monday night.

UPDATE 1/23/2017: In a conversation with a Marriott Rewards supervisor, I was told that you can book fewer than 7 nights, but the certificate will have no left over value.  This can be very important in situations where the hotel you want to stay at has award nights available for 5 or 6 nights in a row, but not for 7.

8. What are my options if I can’t ever use the certificate?

First, it makes sense to call Marriott Rewards and ask them to extend the validity of the certificate for another year.  If you’re sure you won’t use the certificate, though, you can try to get a partial points refund.  If you book a 7 Night package costing 270,000 Marriott Rewards points, you should get back 45,000 Marriott Rewards points.  If you cancel a higher category package, you’ll get back 45,000 points plus the difference in package price between your package and the Category 1-5 package.

9. Can I use the 7 Night Certificate at SPG properties?

No, not yet.  It seems likely that there will come a time when you can, but I can’t promise anything.

10. I want one of these!  How do I earn enough Marriott points quickly?

Keep in mind that you can freely convert SPG points to Marriott points at a 1 to 3 ratio.  So, 90,000 SPG points convert to 270,000 Marriott points.  If you still need additional points quickly, the best option is to sign up for credit cards:

More options:

  • Refer others. You may be able to earn additional points by referring others to these cards if you are a current cardholder.
  • Friends can help by transferring points to you.  Marriott allows members to transfer up to 50,000 points per year to others for a fixed $10 fee which is waived for Gold and Platinum members.
  • Buy points. Marriott sells points for 1.25 cents each (limit 50,000 per year).  SPG sells points for 3.5 cents each (1.17 cents per Marriott point) with a limit of 30,000 points (90,000 Marriott Rewards points).  SPG points are often on sale cheaper, so keep an eye out for a good promotion.
  • Transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Marriott 1 to 1.  In general I don’t recommend this since you can get better value for those points, but it can make sense when topping off the points needed for a Marriott Travel Package.
  • Transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards to SPG and then to Marriott.  Amex transfers to SPG are usually 3 to 1, so that results in a 1 to 1 transfer to Marriott.  Keep an eye out for a transfer bonus which would improve the transfer rate.

11. Can I combine points with my significant other to book this?

Yes.  When you call Marriott Rewards to book the travel package, you can ask them to pull the points from both accounts.

12. Does it make sense to get a Travel Package even if I don’t want to stay at a Marriott hotel… ever?

Surprisingly… Yes.  The packages in the top right of each Travel Package (except for packages 2 and 4) offer good value for the miles alone.  Let’s take an example using my current Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs).  At this time, the RRV table shows Marriott points worth 0.68 cents each, and Southwest points worth 1.6 cents each.  So, 270,000 Marriott points can be said to be worth 270,000 x $0.0068 = $1,836.  If you redeem those 270,000 points for a 7 Night 120,000 Southwest point package, you would get 120,000 Southwest points worth 120,000 x $0.016 = $1920.  In this example, even if you threw away the 7 night certificate, you would have slightly increased the value of your points.  Plus, of course, if you do this before March 31st, you’ll get the Southwest Companion Pass as well!

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[…]  Frequent Miler12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages – Frequent Milerhttps:… […]

[…] Q: Tell me 12 things I should know about travel packages A: Happy to!  Read this: 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages […]

RL48

Can you still book fewer than 7 nights with the 7-night certificate? Is it doable online or do you have to call? Thanks.

Katrina Lo

the ecertificate is good for 2 people in a room. I tried looking for award stay at marriott for paris but for 4 people there’s additional 200EU per night, for 2 people there’s no additional cost. is that usual? Is there a way around this?

Mike

Do what most people do, sneak in the extra two people in later after you’ve already checked in.

Jane

thank you for this!
just checking, for package 1 can I use the miles transferred to Alaska airlines for use in partner airlines like Korean air or something?

Jim Lovejoy

Once they hit your Alaska Airlines account they are Alaska miles. If you find award availability you can use them just like any other Alaska Miles

[…] 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages […]

CSue

I have some tips regarding extending your certificate for another year. First, watch your confirmation. They replaced my cat 7 cert with a cat 1-5, so I had to call back to get it corrected. Second, don’t call to extend until the last day. I was afraid of forgetting, so I did mine 3/5 even though it didn’t expire until 3/31. Well the extension now expires 1 year from 3/5 NOT 1 year from 3/31. So I lost 3 weeks. Just FYI

netspider99

Greg i want know how obtain one 7 night stay for Marriott on ebay they sell them for $900 for cat 6. do you thing its wise way to do it.

Dave

If I transfer points from my wife’s account to book a vacation package will they count towards lifetime status points in my account? If so when will they count when I purchase the certificate with points, or when I redeem the certificate with the actual vacation stay?

Dave

Greg thanks for the clarification. 1 follow up question is if I have enough points to cover the vacation package in my account, but want to use her points for the reservation as I understand it I can transfer more than 50,000 points once per year to cover the package under my account and not use any of my points.

Doc

What type of room do you get with a 7 night package? The best available, or only limited to standard rooms, no view etc. Thinking of going for cat. 9 hotel The Cosmopolitan in Vegas.

Nick Reyes

You get the same standard room you’d get if you booked a regular award night. Standard award nights are usually the lowest category of room. As an elite member, you could always be upgraded. However, I probably wouldn’t expect a big upgrade at a place like The Cosmopolitan. Flyertalk indicates that you might get a small upgrade if you’re a Marriott Platinum member. See this thread for datapoints:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/marriott-ritz-carlton-rewards/1158298-las-vegas-cosmopolitan-hotel.html

Not sure if you may be able to pay something for an upgrade?

HoKo

If we extend the expiration date of our 7 night certificate for another year…but then end up still not using it will we have the option to exchange for 45K points? Or is it a choice of extending expiration date OR taking the 45K points.

Darla C.

I just tried to upgrade my Category 1-5 certificate to a Category 7 (I have the additional 60k points needed for the difference. Three different phone calls, three no’s.

Could I please get the Customer Support number to call, I’ve tried 800-450-4442, 800-721-7033, 800-321-7396.

Any help would be appreciated.

[…] those certificates.  You can attempt to quickly use them, you can call to extend them, or you can get some of your points redeposited and cancel it.  Those were the options until Shawn decided to find a better way and got his certificate extended […]

James

If you have a category 1-5 certificate but found availability for a category 6 hotel you want to stay, can you pay the difference in cash if you don’t have the points (30K)?

Nick Reyes

I’m not aware of a way to pay “cash” per se. You could buy the points though. You’ll be better off buying SPG points and converting them to Marriott. See this morning’s post:

https://frequentmiler.com/2018/02/02/buy-spg-points-35-off/

With the current discount, 10K Starpoints (which convert to 30K Marriott points) will cost you $227.50. That comes out to about $32.50 per night — probably not a bad deal for the upgrade.

[…] For more details about Marriott flight & hotel packages (also known as travel packages), see: 12 things you need to know about Marriott Travel Packages. […]

Eric

Can you transfer the airline miles to a friend’s airline account? If I wanted the stay and he needed the miles – is that possible?

Dave

Booked this package about 2 weeks ago. I asked to deposit miles into my wife’s airline account and I would take the free 7 nights certificate but the rep said it was not possible. Both miles and free nights certificate had to go to the same name.

Nikki

which option would you recommend?
1. have 153k Marriott, will be getting 35k SPG bonus by next month. do the 270k with United. 132k + 58k in my united account + 20k transfer from spg. give me 2 Biz RT to Europe. the 7 nights cert doesnt appeal me.
2. skip the Marriott package. with 58k united + transfer 122k from UR for 2 Biz One way (120k) and 2 Economy. (60k) trying to save points for future use which is why i’m flying economy back. i just want to have an experience flying biz.
3. do option 2 but RT. 182k transfer from UR. yikes!

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